Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Service: All Services (by Secretary of Defense)
Instituted: 3 November 1977
Criteria: Noncombat meritorious achievement or service while assigned to a Joint Activity
Devices: Bronze & Silver Oak Leaf Cluster
Authorized on November 3, 1977. The Defense Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to any active member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguishes him/herself by noncombat meritorious achievement or service while serving in a Joint Activity after November 3, 1977. Examples of Joint assignments that may allow qualification for this medal are: Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Unified or Specified Commands, Joint billets in NATO or NORAD, Defense Agencies, National Defense University, National War College, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Armed Forces Staff College and the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff.
The bronze medal has an eagle with spread wings in the center superimposed on a pentagon in the center of a laurel wreath. The reverse is inscribed with the words, “DEFENSE MERITORIOUS SERVICE” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”. The ribbon has a wide white center stripe with three light blue stripes in the middle. The white stripe is flanked by ruby red and white. The ruby red and white are copied from the ribbon of the Meritorious Service Medal with the blue stripes representing the Department of Defense. Subsequent awards are denoted by bronze and silver oak leaf clusters. The Defense Meritorious Service Medal was designed by Lewis J. King, Jr. of the Institute of Heraldry.